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Evolutionary tree of the Hominoidea (emphasis on family Hominidae): after an initial separation from the main line by the Hylobatidae (gibbons) some 18 million years ago, the line of Pongidae broke away, leading to the orangutan; later, the Hominidae split into the tribes Hominini and Gorillini.

A hominid is any member of the biological family Hominidae. These are the "great apes", living and extinct. At present there are humans, chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans.

The word "hominid" has been used in various ways. The classification of the great apes has been revised several times in the last few decades. These revisions led to different uses of the word "hominid". The original meaning of the taxon Hominidae meant only humans and their closest relatives. Now this group is called the Hominina.

The primatological term hominid is easily confused with a number of very similar words:

  • A hominoid or ape is a member of the superfamily Hominoidea: existing members are the lesser apes (gibbons) and great apes.
  • A hominid is a member of the family Hominidae: all of the great apes.
  • A hominine is a member of the subfamily Homininae: gorillas, chimpanzees, humans (excludes orangutans).
  • A hominin is a member of the tribe Hominini: including humans.
  • A hominan is a little used term for a sub-tribe. It is only used by people who put chimpanzees in the Hominini.
  • A human is a member of Homo sapiens. The word is sometimes also used to refer to any extinct member of the genus Homo or members from other hominan genera.
  • A humanoid is a vaguely human-shaped entity; the term is typically used in science fiction.

See also